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Chief Operating Officer

Southern Research
Birmingham, AL
Start date
Apr 15, 2024

Job Details

Chief Operating Officer 

Position Summary:

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is the senior executive responsible for securing the functionality of business to drive extensive and sustainable growth. The COO will manage Southern Research's daily preclinical drug discovery and business development operations, working closely with department heads and supervisors to support the day-to-day activity of employees. The primary duties of the COO are to (a) adjust and align the products and services SR is offering to market need; (b) re-design the organizational chart to optimize for commercial pace and delivery; and (c) bring in business (via contracts and long-term strategic partnerships); (d) lead an efficient, self-sustaining pre-clinical drug discovery and development business; and (e)attract, develop, and empower talent and subject matter experts to propel the business forward.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with CEO in setting and driving organizational vision, operations strategy, and hiring levels.
  • Translate strategy into actionable steps for growth, implementing organization-wide goal setting, performance management, and annual operations planning for all profit and loss centers.
  • Set ambitious yet feasible Objectives and Key Results for the organization.
  • Collaborate with management and other stakeholders to raise capital and carry out other business-expanding strategies.
  • Serve as the connective tissue between scientific strategy and efficient business execution for new and existing business lines.
  • Lead the entire preclinical business, end-to-end.
  • Articulate strategy for expanding existing business lines  while also launching business with new clients.
  • Oversee the daily business and administrative operations and improve operating procedures for optimal efficiency.
  • Oversee company operations and employee productivity, building a highly inclusive culture that ensures team members can thrive and that organizational goals are met.
  • Lead business units to excel in delivery of business services and to adopt best practices or embrace innovation around business process improvement.
  • Establish quantitative and qualitative metrics, guidelines, and standards by which the organization's administrative efficiency and effectiveness can be evaluated; identifies opportunities for improvement.
  • Co-create, with the Chief of Staff, the execution roadmap that is aligned with corporate strategy.
  • Set goals for operational efficiency and increased productivity among business units.
  • Implement policies and procedures that will improve day-to-day operations.
  • Maximize efficiency and productivity through extensive process analysis and interdepartmental collaboration.
  • Align, approve and allocate resources based on business priorities.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor day-to-day operational systems and processes that provide visibility into goals, progress, and obstacles for key initiatives.
  • Track and report on operating results to ensure consistent growth and progress towards achieving strategic, operational and compliance goals.
  • Monitor performance with tracking software and take corrective measures when necessary, and prepare detailed updates and forecasts.
  • Build and maintain trusting relationships with key customers, clients, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Plan, direct, control, implement, evaluate, monitor, and forecast budgets and costs to achieve financial objectives in subordinate units.
  • Lead coordination and integration of efforts among operations and business units to produce smoother workflow and more cost-effective business processes.
  • Communicate and explain new directives, policies, or procedures to management; for major changes, meets with entire operations staff to explain changes, answer questions, and maintain morale.
  • Improve customer service and satisfaction through policy and procedural changes.
  • Ensure compliance with national and local business regulations, and take appropriate action when necessary.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships across all levels of the organization.
  • Project a positive image of the organization to employees, customers, industry, and community.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.

Qualifications, Skills and Personal Characteristics

  • Advanced degree in relevant discipline and extensive experience with preclinical drug discovery and business development.
  • Proven experience in a senior executive role.
  • Experience with broad business/strategy/operations/analytics experience.
  • Strategic planning and business development.
  • Superior knowledge of multiple operational functions and principles, including execution of strategy, data-driven decision making, customer service and employee accountability and management.
  • Must be process-driven, results-oriented and commercially connected.
  • Proven ability to plan and manage operational process for maximum efficiency and productivity.
  • Subject matter expert in process improvement, organizational design, and management/measurement systems.
  • Superior communication and management skills.
  • Ability to streamline and implement new structures and roles that create speed, efficiency, and support rapidly shifting business demands.
  • Ability to work effectively and collaboratively within a strong leadership team.
  • Strong problem-solving and creative skills and the ability to exercise sound judgment and make decisions based on accurate and timely analyses.
  • Entrepreneurial, self-starter possessing strong interpersonal, analytical and presentation skills with a strong executive presence.  The ability to inspire confidence and influence varied audiences.
  • High ethical standards, and proven ability to work effectively with executive management and others as a strategic partner.  Must have a penchant for delivering the highest quality output with a strong sense of urgency and results orientation to a variety of constituencies.
  • Team player, who leads by example, employs expertise and influence to encourage collaboration across functions, levels, and groups to achieve shared objectives.
  • Must inspire, embody, and model Southern Research core values and have a compelling leadership style which inspires a high degree of engagement.
  • Proven experience with developing internal talent to deliver improved performance.
  • Strongly held conviction that inclusion and innovation go hand-in-hand.
  • Adherent to the philosophy that the execution begins with hiring and positioning A-players to be successful.
  • The embodiment of professionalism.

Core Values

Cultivating human connection – putting people first.  We know that every individual makes a difference and that no one can do it alone.  We believe the world's most powerful resource is human potential.  We are an inclusive and courageous team where innovation and diversity of though go hand in hand.  We understand that relationships move at the speed of trust.

Operating with precise execution – measuring what matters and owning results as a team.  We leverage data to drive decisions that advance science.  We recognize the importance of a stable foundation coupled with an agile mindset.  We hold ourselves accountable and take pride in our work.  We give and receive candid feedback as a gift that keeps us growing.

Harnessing relentless curiosity – our unstoppable, innovative force.  We are driven to ask sharp questions and push the boundaries of knowledge.  We use creativity and critical thinking as catalysts for finding solutions that change lives.  We learn by doing, consistently striving to improve our relationships, training, methodologies, questions and results.

Stewarding a healthy community – implementing sustainable operations for a safe, engaging environment.  We don't compromise on safety and health for our employees, customers or community.  We believe a healthy community begins with inclusive economic opportunities.  We respect the dignity of the patients we ultimately serve.  We are motivated to serve communities that are underserved and markets that are overlooked.

Job Specific Behaviors

Strategic Vision and Leadership – Establishes multi-year business division vision.  Participates with other senior leaders to develop the overall organization mission, vision, and strategic plan.  Committed to leadership excellence and models leadership competencies.

Strategic Decision Making - Obtains information and identifies key issues relevant to achieving a long-range goal; commits to a course of action to accomplish goal after developing alternatives based on logical assumptions, facts, constraints & resources.

Strategic Relationship Building - Uses appropriate interpersonal skills to work effectively with others to meet mutual goals and objectives; understands the role & interrelationships of each organizational function.  Possess skills in managing across functional and organizational lines.

Operational & Technical Excellence - Ensures that work products enable the organization to meet or exceed our customer's expectations.

Communications - Expresses thoughts and ideas effectively in individual and group situations; adjusts language to the needs of the audience.

Goal Setting - Establishes stretch goals and manages to focused outcomes.  Demands excellence.  Demonstrates a strong commitment to organizational success; works to do what is best for all stakeholders.

Change Leadership - Encourages others to seek opportunities for different and innovative approaches to addressing problems and opportunities; facilitates the implementation and acceptance of change within the workplace.

Team Building - Creates a climate of teamwork to achieve objectives, taking advantage of our diversity; creates a sense of ownership and encourages individuals to stretch beyond their own capabilities.

Coaching and Development - Selects for talent.  Sets expectations and provides clear and timely feedback.  Motivates, develops self and others to foster a learning environment and openly shares information that would guide others. Uses appropriate interpersonal style to guide direct reports to action.  Selects for talent, sets expectations, provides clear feedback, motivates, develops self and others; fosters a learning environment; recognizes performance success.

Business Knowledge - Maintains external awareness of business sectors; applies knowledge of Institute's culture, business processes and tools to achieve goals.

Work Environment & Conditions

This position is required to work in an office setting using a computer for extended periods of time.  Personal involvement and exposure, including travel, to other locations is required.  This position may also include entry to laboratory or workspace areas that will require use of appropriate PPE.

Physical Demands

  • Ability to perform work utilizing a computer for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to sit for extended periods of time without being able to leave the work area.
  • As related to laboratory work (as applicable):
  • Ability to stand for extended periods of time without being able to leave the work area.
  • Ability to climb ladders and stairs in performing the work.
  • Ability to walk for reasonable distances in performing the work.

Certifications, Licenses & Registrations

None required


MOVING SCIENCE. Our experts turn what couldn't be done into what we can't live without. By translating research into innovation, we act as catalysts that save lives and cultivate Birmingham's biotech scene. We are conduits between Science and Society. With precision, we transform ideas into discoveries. We see possibilities before they exist and activate scientific progress that is purposeful. We move science, because the promise of a brighter future moves us. We work with more than 150 industry and academic partners to drive scientific discoveries. From drug discovery to development, to carbon capture and environmental health sciences, every layer of our scientific and professional teams serve a fundamental role in moving science. We're making Birmingham the biotech hub of the southeast. Coming in 2024, our new biotech center will feature 60,000 sq. ft. of commercial wet labs, A/BSL-3 space and data science facilities. Our team will grow 125 scientific jobs and help shape the future of biotech in Alabama. We're investing in renovations of 40,000 sq. ft. of facilities including vivarium space and launching a new clinical diagnostics lab.

Company info
(205) 581-2000
2000 9th Avenue South

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